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ISSUE 116 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/21/2003

Housing situation triple the trouble

By Tiffany Ayres
Staff Writer


Friday, March 21, 2003

A little less than a month from now, the St. Olaf campus will become a frenzy of activity known as Roomdraw, which will begin at 4 pm on April 9 and end on April 15.

The luckiest St. Olaf students are those whose Honor House applications are accepted. The honor houses, which consisting of 5 language houses and 12 service houses, will board roughly 140 students, all of whom will know where they will be living before Spring Break. For the rest of campus, the suspense and stress will last longer.

Rumors about next year’s housing situation have already begun to fly rapidly around campus, particularly about the rooms in Kittelsby being changed into triples.

At the time the Manitou Messenger went to press, Pamela Mannebach, director of Residence Life, did not know for certain if the rumor would materialize, but she did confirm that the rooms were indeed large enough to accommodate such a change and that it could be a possibility.

In general, for Roomdraw, seniors, juniors, and sophomores usually vie for the same space.

"Next year’s senior class will be smaller than this year’s senior class. Next year’s sophomore class will make it tight, but overall we’re not worried about next year," Mannebach said.

However, if class sizes continue to get larger in the coming years, then there could eventually be a problem.

As for now, Residence Life has planned to anticipate problems in housing students. A few specific problems Mannebach mentioned were students deciding in August not to travel with an abroad program and Residence Life miscalculating the gender balance.

Again, changing Kittelsby into triples could be a possibility if the necessity arises because all of the available and suitable space in the other residence halls on campus has already been turned into rooms.

"I wouldn’t like to turn the remaining study lounges in Larson into rooms because I think the lounges are well used as they are," Mannebach said.

A variety of other factors also affect housing. Among Residence Life holding rooms, the waiting list and students changing their plans, more rooms will become available throughout the summer months.

First, Residence Life holds a number of rooms for International Students and Transfer Students coming to St. Olaf. Last year, 43 rooms were reserved and it will be roughly the same this year, which is actually a smaller number of rooms held than in previous years.

Second, anyone on the waiting list who has paid his or her $500 reservation payment is guaranteed a room.

"Usually 110 people end up on the waiting list," Mannebach said. "Last year, all of the women on the list chose to be on it because they did not want to live in Mohn or Rand."

Lastly, cases of student uncertainty will open up rooms. Mannebach gave a few examples of such occurrences.

"Seniors and juniors will draw double rooms if they have doubts about whether or not they’ll live on campus or if they haven’t yet been accepted to student teach for a semester," said Mannebach.

When students are sure of their plans, then the rooms open up. The same is true in cases where students are waiting to hear from other schools about acceptance for transferring or traveling with abroad programs.

Starting during Spring Break, Mannebach will decide the floor plans for each hall in regards to what will be available for each gender and each class for the draw. The announcement of the floor plans will come on April 1

The process for printing, sorting, and stuffing P.O. boxes with draw slips takes two days, and between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on April 9 the 2,000 slips will be put in student P.O. boxes. Specials draw will take place on April 13 and doubles draw will be on April 15.

Mannebach, who has been at St. Olaf for 12 years, has been involved with Roomdraw for eight of those 12 years. Though the process might seem complicated in its present form, Mannebach said, it is actually easier than it was six years ago.

Mannebach said, "Students used to have to turn in a form listing all of the possible room situations they wanted to be eligible for and they would receive that many different draw numbers; sometimes one student would have up to 13 draw numbers."





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